Tag Archives: the Royals

Prince Philip: The Patriarchs – An Elegy

The poet laureate of the UK, Simon Armitage, has written a most beautiful tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh (title above). Not sycophantic, not pompous, fresh and sensible, like the Duke himself. It was published for the first time yesterday, the day of Philip’s funeral. It reads like a tribute to a man and also to a generation – we won’t see their like again, sadly.

The weather in the window this morning
is snow, unseasonal singular flakes,
a slow winter’s final shiver. On such an occasion
to presume to eulogise one man is to pipe up
for a whole generation – that crew whose survival
was always the stuff of minor miracle,
who came ashore in orange-crate coracles,
fought ingenious wars, finagled triumphs at sea
with flaming decoy boats, and side-stepped torpedoes.

Husbands to duty, they unrolled their plans
across billiard tables and vehicle bonnets,
regrouped at breakfast. What their secrets were
was everyone’s guess and nobody’s business.
Great-grandfathers from birth, in time they became
both inner core and outer case
in a family heirloom of nesting dolls.
Like evidence of early man their boot-prints stand
in the hardened earth of rose-beds and borders.

They were sons of a zodiac out of sync
with the solar year, but turned their minds
to the day’s big science and heavy questions.
To study their hands at rest was to picture maps
showing hachured valleys and indigo streams, schemes
of old campaigns and reconnaissance missions.
Last of the great avuncular magicians
they kept their best tricks for the grand finale:
Disproving Immortality and Disappearing Entirely.

The major oaks in the wood start tuning up
and skies to come will deliver their tributes.
But for now, a cold April’s closing moments
parachute slowly home, so by mid-afternoon
snow is recast as seed heads and thistledown.

The H&M Circus

What a vile pair. Prince Philip is in the hospital and there is a worldwide public health crisis but it’s all about H&M. Forgive me if I blame Meghan, though – Harry was once a young man who served his country and founded the Invictus Games, so there was a kernel of decency there. Now he has Stockholm Syndrome, from what I can see. Interesting to me is the amount of support the couple are getting in the U.S. I am not remotely anti-American – unlike so many of my compatriots – but I am truly disgusted with the fact that so many Americans, including rather prominent ones, simply believe what Meghan asserted in the “interview.” (It really wasn’t the latter, at all. An interviewer would have challenged what were clearly some blatant falsehoods.) Anyway, the brilliant Melanie Phillips knocks it out of the park here, and Rod Liddle gets a touchdown here (see what I did there?).

Of the truly evil suggestion that someone in the royal family was worried Archie might have dark skin, Liddle writes: “So — who asked about Archie’s skin color, then? Not naming the supposed miscreant was another act of self-indulgence and cowardice from Meghan and Harry. Besmirch the entire royal family by not providing a name.” Indeed, the passive-aggressive nature of the accusation boggles the mind. There is real weaselish-ness in not naming a name and of not being specific about the alleged comment and the context of it. Now the public will wonder – was it William? Kate? Charles? And what was the comment, exactly? Way to smear people, Megs.

I hope Harry’s family will be forgiving, because after the divorce he will need support.